Although he has only been running the National Basketball Association a few months, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has taken the league and many outside of it by storm. On the job just a few days, Silver walked to the podium in the wake of horrific rant by one of the owners he served and banned him for life.
While millions applauded the action of Silver in kicking now former Los Angeles Clippers’ owner David Stern to the curb, this has been far from his only move that has drawn positive reactions from within his league and from outside. But don’t think that all of these moves that have been heralded by players are being done just because of the goodness of his heart.
There is a very significant reason why Silver has the back of the players right now and I’ll get to that in a second.
Earlier this week, Silver announced that next year’s All-Star Break would be extended. Many players, especially those who participate in many of the events on All-Star Weekend had been vocal about getting more time off. Clearly Silver listened.
The All-Star Break for the 2014-2015 season will be eight days long. That is easily the longest break for any of the professional sports in America and will no doubt spur similar call from the hockey and baseball crowd. With this decision, Silver has again demonstrated that the players have his ear.
Why is this such big and important news? Because compared to the other three pro sports commissioners, Silver is kicking some serious butt and in this particular case NFL Roger Goodell is taking the most blows to the head. For instance, just weeks after handing down a pathetically soft suspension on Ray Rice for domestic violence, Goodell and the NFL announced yesterday that they would be looking to hit future perpetrators with a much more severe suspension.
This is what we call being “retroactive” while Adam Silver continues to be “proactive.”
With his actions against Sterling and his lengthening of the All-Star Break, Silver has tremendous support from the players. This is something that Roger Goodell cannot say and more than likely never will. The vast majority of NFL players do not trust Goodell. They do not see him as a leader and perhaps the most damaging thing is that they don’t respect him. They see him as another rich bureaucrat running things in the the best interest of money rather than the best interest of them.
This isn’t about Goodell though. This is about Adam Silver and this about what I mentioned earlier. There is a method to the good madness to which he is guiding. See, at some point in the future, the NBA Players Association and the NBA will enter into contract negotiations once again.
In almost every case, the players in any given professional sports league usually scream about the lack of respect and lack of money that is shared with them based on their performances. That isn’t going to be possible in the NBA now is it?
How will the players say that the Commissioner of the NBA doesn’t respect them when all he has done to this point is have their back? Silver would probably tell us all that these decisions in recent months have nothing to do with future contract negotiations and maybe he’d be telling the truth.
He didn’t become Commissioner of the NBA however by happenstance. Silver is a smart, well-schooled businessman and the players will find that out eventually.